Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Cheering for Mexico. Is that an American Thing to Do?
Mexico is playing for its World Cup life today. It is sitting in a pretty good spot to move on, but still has a scenario in which they could be eliminated from the tournament today. I for one am cheering for Mexico to move on and do well in the elimination round. My question to all of you is, as an American fan, should I be doing this?
As you may or may not know, El Tri is Team USAs biggest rivals. They are rivals for obvious reason like, currently being the two most successful teams in CONCACAF as well as sharing a border. USA has never won in Mexico (0-23-1) and has only held the lead in Estadio Azteca(Mexico’s home field) for a grand total of 10 minutes, which happened last year. Bill Simmons wrote a good article about that game which gives a good feeling of how intense Estadio Azteca is for the American Team and the American Fans. Mexico views defeating team USA as a source of national pride, even if the feeling isn’t reciprocated, Team USA feels the intensity.
So why would I be cheering for Team USA’s biggest rival? It’s the same reason I cheer for the Big Ten in out of conference games and bowl games. It’s because they represent North America. They represent a brand of Soccer that represents us. When Ohio State played in back to back national title games and lost to the amazing “speed” of the SEC, all of a sudden every single team in the Big Ten got stereotyped as big, slow and outdated. Was that a fair assumption to make? Of course not, but that was the story everyone else kept repeating; If these guys got beat so badly and they beat everyone in their league, clearly the league is bad. So every year, I cheer for Big Ten teams that I normally vehemently despise because I want every else to recognize how strong the league is. This is the same reason I’m cheering for Mexico. If Mexico and USA (and Honduras) do well in the World Cup, the world will start taking North American soccer a little more seriously and give both teams that much more respect.
The other reason I am cheering for Mexico is I know how much it would mean to their fans. Yes I know the European, African and South American fans are all just as passionate, but most major soccer powers have won a world cup. Mexico is still looking for their first. No team from North America has ever won the World Cup, if any team does, even if it’s Mexico, that’s something worth celebrating.